Australian Beer Co (ABCo), owned by Casella Family Brands, is to take over the Victoria-based canned spirits company Ampersand Projects.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Taking Ampersand under its wing will help ABCo expand its portfolio of spirits and ready-to-drink products, Casella said.

Ampersand’s founders are to remain in their roles to “propel the business forward.”

The acquisition will allow Ampersand to benefit from “all the capability and resources of the ABCo business”, Casella added. It will also be granted “the investment and long-term approach to take the brands to reach their full potential”.

Ampersand’s flagship product, Vodka Soda &, is said to have been the first unflavoured vodka and soda RTD beverage on the Australian market when it was launched in 2018.

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ABCo will take on its portfolio, which now amounts to 30 RTD products – from mixed vodka, tequila and gin to whisky and ginger beer.  

In a statement, Shaun Rankins, the co-founder of Ampersand Projects’ Vodka Soda & brand, described the deal as “a relationship that brings together the strengths of two independent companies with similar ideologies to continue to innovate the spirit industry”.

He added: “With both companies valuing trust, integrity and respect, this acquisition will see unparalleled synergies and continued growth. Utilising Casella Family Brands legacy and time-tested expertise – this new relationship will maintain and deepen our customer and supplier relationships, remaining a proudly Independent Australian business”.

Known for its cider and beer brands, which include Pressman’s Cider and Poets Country Crisp, ABCo has already begun expanding into the spirits and RTD market with flavoured seltzers brand Nosh, and Just Drinks Co., which produces pre-mixed gin and vodka and margarita beverages.

The acquisition also enables ABCo to grow its range of drinks directed at the health-conscious consumer. All Ampersand products are said to align with the growth in demand for wellbeing and “evolving consumer attitudes towards alcohol”.

ABCo launched a better-for-you range of low-carb lager and zero-alcohol beers last month under the Son of a Nun label.

John Casella, managing director of Casella Family Brands, said: “This is an exciting acquisition for Australian Beer Company as we continue to build our offering in the spirits and RTD categories. I look forward to the founders joining our business to continue the great success they have enjoyed to date.”

Casella assumed full ownership of ABCo in 2022, following Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Australia’s decision to sell its share in the company.